Abrams made it a point for everyone attending the event to be dressed in civilian clothes – an important symbol of reducing military ranks. “We will put a plan of action with real flesh on the bone so that we can get it after that. We will not tolerate this second longer this time,” Abrams told the audience.
Abrams, who is white, spoke in deep personal terms. “Since my time in service, I have tried very hard to be part of the solution, and it was very difficult for me to understand this week that I failed to help eliminate racism and intolerance in our ranks.”
There is no indication that senior officials are coordinating their efforts, but the message is unambiguous. Service members at all levels speak publicly and the leaders listen. The military – which Trump often uses to promote himself as commander in chief – takes a renewed stance against racial injustice and moves from the president on this key issue.
They are well aware that they risk bearing the president’s anger but are determined to speak out and push for improvements in an army that seeks diversity.
There is conversation taking place across all ranks and in installations around the world via social media, speeches, videos and unexpected moments.
One of the generals told CNN that a few days ago a young black serviceman on his crew told him: “I don’t feel like anyone really sees me,” when moving around the Pentagon corridors.
General’s reaction? “We have to start listening to what people are saying,” he told CNN, describing the conversation.
Painful revelation is revealed in all ranks of the army whose members do not often see their feelings publicly expressed.
He added: “I am thinking about a history of racial issues and my own experiences that have not always sung freedom.”
“I’m thinking of wearing the same flying suit with the same wings on my chest like my colleagues and then being interrogated by another military member: Are you a pilot?”
The Air Force Inspector General is now investigating the history of service in the military discipline and career opportunities of black service personnel.
An unusual apology from the country’s highest general
Military leaders are also wandering about the challenges posed by a president who sometimes tried to drag services into party politics.
My presence indicated that his presence “sparked a national debate about the role of the army in civil society. I should not have been there. My presence at that moment and in that environment was a conception of the army involved in domestic politics. An officer in uniform, it was a mistake I learned from him , And I sincerely hope we can all learn from it. “
Several sources told CNN that Trump was already angry with Defense Secretary Mark Esper for his public opposition to the use of forces operating in the streets of Washington during the protests – something that Millie and Esper had to talk to the president.
Pentagon officials initially tried to suggest that Esper was not separated from the president, but it became so dangerous that Esper became aware last week that the president might have released him.
Trump has already shut down one of the Pentagon’s efforts to tackle the country’s painful apartheid.
On Wednesday, the president tweeted that he would “not even think” of renaming the army bases that currently bear the names of Confederate generals. By all accounts, it was a direct rebuke of the Pentagon leadership.
Esber and Millie had announced that they supported the army’s plan, presented by the chief political appointee, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, to start a two-party national conversation about removing the names of Confederate generals from ten US military installations. On Wednesday, the military began discussing the names of individuals who may request their service on the Blue Ribbon Commission examining the case.
But the president quickly moved to close a dialogue initiated by his top commanders, saying in a series of tweets, “My administration will not even consider renaming these wonderful and legendary military installations,” adding, “Respect our army!” And he did not address the fact that the idea came from his military team And your defense.
It is also not clear whether Trump will now try to stop both Naval Operations Commander Admiral Michael Gilday and Marine Corps General David Berger to prevent Confederate symbols from their military installations. Both military leaders – who are members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – have made it clear that the symbols of division in an army that relies on unity between forces to fight and win battles cannot be tolerated.
The Air Force and the military are also expected to issue similar orders and Esber may consider a similar ban in civilian facilities, although they realize the president can revoke their decisions, defense officials say.
In recent days, both military chiefs, as well as Millie and Aspire, have public messages about racism in the military. This was the same strategy they used after the March of White Supremacy march in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 to remind forces that racism is not permitted and reach a wider audience across the country.
On the other hand, the president seemed to condone the white fanatics in that gathering by praising the “good people on both sides”.
But the scale of the challenge facing the military should not be underestimated. Black officers are still underrepresented at the highest levels and make up 19% of service members recruited but only 9% of officers. And when he takes over the Air Force, Brown will be the first black chief of staff for any military branch. The 72-year-old is historic after President Harry Truman’s executive order of July 26, 1948, which eliminated racial discrimination in the U.S. Army.